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Mission and History

CCE’s mission is to enhance the justice system in the District of Columbia to serve the public equitably. CCE identifies and proposes solutions by collaborating with diverse stakeholders to conduct research, advance policy, educate the public, and increase civic engagement.

The Council for Court Excellence (CCE) was founded in 1982 by leaders in the District’s civic, legal, government, and business sectors in the wake of a comprehensive report by the District of Columbia Court System Study Committee of the DC Bar (Study Committee), chaired by Charles A. Horsky. The Study Committee’s charge “was to assess the effect of the District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970...and to make such recommendations as were warranted for further improvement in the court system of the District.” To ensure that the Study Committee’s recommendations were not condemned to collect dust on a shelf, Mr. Horsky, CCE’s founding president, and Samuel F. Harahan, who had served as the Study Committee Staff Director and became CCE's founding Executive Director, mobilized leaders to create an organization that would lead the charge in making the District’s local and federal court systems effective, efficient, and fair for everyone. Over the next few decades, the need for an independent voice on D.C.’s criminal, youth, and civil justice systems – beyond just the courts – became clear. CCE stepped in to fill that gap, keeping our model of interdisciplinary alliance but expanding our mission to include all aspects of our justice system. 

CCE has built a substantial record of improving the District’s justice system. As just a few examples, CCE has been the driving force behind:

  • Adoption of the one day/one trial jury system in DC Superior Court
  • Modernizing trial jury and grand jury systems
  • Creating and recommending necessary improvements to the DC Office of Administrative Hearings to improve DC’s administrative adjudication system
  • Improving the handling of child abuse and neglect cases
  • Expanding crime victims' rights
  • Adoption of criminal record-sealing processes
  • Reducing civil case delay in DC Superior Court
  • Probate system reform
  • Public education to promote better understanding of and build confidence in the justice system.

For more information, visit What We Do.  




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